The PGA, the world’s oldest professional golfers association, has supplied PGA Collection irons and putters for use by primary school children at New Brighton’s six hole par three course which is the latest initiative supported by the Wirral Golf Development Group.
PGA captain Eddie Bullock attended the official launch of Club T.G (Tri-Golf) on the King’s Parade promenade which will be open to 108 primary schools in the borough and is aimed at sparking interest with the long-term ambition of acting as a feeder club for nearby municipal courses.
“It’s wonderful to see the school children have this opportunity and congratulations to John Heggarty and the Wirral steering group for getting the PGA involved and I hope it gets more support,” said Bullock.
Youngsters from nearby New Brighton Primary School were special guests for the launch and it’s hoped the facility will be first step to lifelong involvement in the sport with taster sessions and beginner lessons.
The initiative is part of a legacy from Royal Liverpool’s staging of the Open Championship in 2014 and also owes much to the memory of late PGA professional Chris Gill who teamed up with the golf development group during the last Open at Hoylake in 2006.
Neil Price, a PGA qualified professional and Wirral’s golf development coach, will manage the project with backing from Royal Liverpool head professional John Heggarty and the Golf Foundation.
“The aim has been to develop golf as much as we can and with help from council funding we have created a six-hole course and little clubhouse for Neil and his local schools,” explained Heggarty. Children will be able to attend taster sessions, learn to play golf and most importantly have fun in a safe and secure environment. Half a mile up the road there is a much bigger par three course and also Warren Municipal Golf Course so there is the beginning of a structure that can now integrate kids from taster sessions right through to a full version of the game.”
The clubhouse includes an honours board for each age category and will mirror the major championships – just like the Open Championship which is coming to Hoylake again in 2014.
Heggarty added: “Royal Liverpool is fortunate to have the Open Championship but what we want is not just the pinnacle of golf but a structure that brings golf from grass roots level right the way through and via this project with the Wirral golf development group we are giving youngsters access to develop their golf through these various municipal facilities.”
Price, who has overseen the project, is confident it can be a roaring success.
“We trialed it last summer and had 80 kids come down and during Easter had 168,” he said. “It’s great to see them running around with a smile on their face but they are also learning the basics such as repairing divots and etiquette. “
Mike Round, chief executive of the Golf Foundation which has also provided equipment as part of its Golf Roots initiative added: “The important thing is to engage the children and get them involved and interested in golf.
“The struggle has been getting them involved in golf clubs. This is all about children playing in their own age groups and creating a pathway to pursue hopefully a lifelong enjoyment of the sport.”
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